Note: This started as a board post and evolved into something diary worthy (I think). However, bump to the board if need be. Thanks!
So I know that there are 3 games left, and I know that individual awards don't matter in comparison to the team winning games.
And I also know that the Heisman does not go to the best player in college football anymore, but rather to the best player on a top 10 team. Its been that way for a long time.
HOWEVER, I find myself looking at the stats that Denard is continuing to put up and can't help but wonder why he is getting absolutely ZERO consideration after the media explosion that happened earlier in the season.
Let's look at some facts:
Denard leads the nation with 351.44 YPG (ahead of Cam Newton by almost 50 YPG!)
In terms of pure yardage he is 3rd behind Griffin III and Moniz who have each played an additional game.
Denard is 2nd in the nation with 149.89 YPG (behind OR's James at 166.38)
However, he is actually leads James in total yardage with 1349! James is only counted for 8 games because he was suspended for punching his girlfriend against NM, while Denard is counted for 9 despite barely playing against BG and missing close to a half against Iowa and Illinois.
So basically if someone out there was ambitious enough to do a "yards per 60 minutes played," I guarantee Denard would be the nation's leading rusher.
DRob is also 2nd in the nation with 7.37 YPC behind Taylor Martinez and well ahead of James at 6.79.
Denard's Total Passing Yards (1814) are obviously nowhere near the top of any list, but being a duel-threat QB that isn't really relevant (see Total Offense).
However, Denard ranks 11th! in Passer Efficiency Rating (160.90) with Kellen Moore and Cam Newton leading the way.
Denard has 25 total TDS, 12 Rush and 13 Pass.
James has 18 total TDs, Newton has 34, Moore has 22.
Denard has 7 INTs and may 2-3 lost fumbles? So we'll say 10 TOs
James' TO #s are irrelevant (plus I can't find them), Newton has 5 INTs, and Moore has 4 INTs.
So, after looking at those numbers the question becomes: Why is Denard not a Heisman contender any more?
The Answer: Oregon, Auburn, and Boise are undefeated. Plain and simple. If Michigan only had one loss or less and was in the top 10, I would almost guarantee that DRob would still be in the thick of the Heisman race even if his numbers were exactly the same.
Now a lot of people would say, well its not all about the numbers. There are other factors.
And I would agree with them. BUT this is not Timmy Chang, Colt Brennen, or one of the Texas Tech QBs putting up 6000 yards.
We are talking about a sophomore QB on a Big Ten team! Michigan's schedule is no joke, and declaring Denard to be a "system" QB in the line of those mentioned above doesn't seem to fit. What is the system? Passing? Rushing? Scoring? Denard ranks well in every category.
Its just frustrating to me that the media blew up in epic proportions during the first part of the season over Denard, but now they barely give him a mention. I think they definitely gave him too much pub by declaring him the winner after week 4, but I also think they are giving him too little respect at this point in the season.
Denard has numbers comparable or better than every other top Heisman candidate, and he plays a schedule much more difficult than that of Oregon, Boise, and most other teams outside the SEC.
And last but not least lets not forget that he plays on a team FAR worse than those of James, Newton, or Moore. Its funny that Michigan's record is a big part of the reason he is not under consideration when the fact that Michigan is terrible on defense should be an even bigger credit to his abilities.
Newton, James, and Moore are all on teams surrounded by superstars and playmakers, and while Michigan does have an excellent offense, our team as a whole is not very good.
People should realize once again that the Heisman is about the most outstanding player in college football, regardless of record. I know that strength of schedule has to be considered in making that determination, but having a bad team should not count against you.
I'm not saying that Denard should win the Heisman. I think Newton would have my vote at this point. But Denard would be second or third without a doubt in my mind, and I hope that other people are thinking the same thing. The kid deserves it.
I recommend that when the Big Ten accepts a 12th team, they initiate a division system that goes outside the box of what has been done before. Instead of having permanent divisions, the divisions should be rotating and determined by conference record in previous seasons. Originally, I thought that the divisions should be reformed after each season, but Seth9 convinced me that a rotation occurring every two seasons was best.
For example, if this system had been in place in 2007 (with a hypothetical 12th team of course) the divisions would have looked like this in 2009:
(Combined Conference Standing from 2007 and 2008 in Parenthesis)
(1) Ohio State
(n/a) 12th Team
Based on this break down, OSU and Iowa would have faced off in the Championship Game (which should be held in Lucas Oil Stadium in my opinion). Again this does not factor in the 12th team, but I wanted to give a tangible example of how this would work.
These divisions would remain like this for the 2010 season, and then be reconfigured again based on the combined conference records from 2009/2010.
On to the analysis:
The major issues that have been brought up by quite a few people in regards to expansion is how to deal with The Game (in addition to other current rivalries).
Most say that UM-OSU need to be in the same division so that they can continue to play on the last week of the regular season without the risk that they will have to play again in the Championship. However, there is another group that thinks that putting UM-OSU on the same side will create a Texas-Oklahoma situation, where you have one extremely strong division that basically beats the hell out of the the other division in the Championship game (yes I know Nebraska used to be really good and I know Kansas State beat Oklahoma once, but in general the North has been terrible the last few years).
In my opinion, rotating divisions is the best compromise possible in a situation where no one is going to be completely satisfied. Some years UM-OSU would end up playing twice in one season and other times one of them would get screwed because they are on a side with the two best teams.
I'm just not okay with saying that OSU, MSU, UM have to be on the same side because they are rivals and have to play every year. Yes, I completely understand the importance of rivalries, but if the Big Ten tries to make divisions that way they will end up with an unbalanced conference, which is a nightmare scenario IMO.
With the rotating divisions, each team would obviously play every other team on their side. They would then each be allowed one permanent opponent (UM-OSU, Minn-Wisconsin, etc) from the other side. If you really wanted to make an effort to preserve all the rivalries in the Big Ten, you could even allow teams to have an alternate permanent opponent that they could play if their first choice is already on their side. For example, when UM and OSU are on the same side, UM could be guaranteed a game against MSU (assuming they are on the other side). I know this is starting to sound pretty confusing, but a lot of things about conference rules and scheduling is confusing.
That about sums up my thoughts on the rotating divisions concept, so I will now turn it over to the MGOBLOG community for examination. I realize that this is extremely unlikely to ever become reality, so some of you may find talking about it a waste of time. But I was bored, didn't want to work on a term paper, and wanted to see what people thought so here it is.
Well, here we are halfway through the season and the team sits at 4-2, a record I think no one would have been too surprised about in July. We have 6 games left, and we need to win 2 of them to become bowl eligible and 3 to guarantee ourselves a 13th game.
All of this got me thinking about the importance of getting to that 7th win. So I decided to look up the rules on the matter and this is what I found:
From the NCAA rules:
18.104.22.168 Exceptions - 12 Game Season. During each year in which an institution is permitted to participate in 12 regular-season football games, an institution with a record of six wins and six losses may be selected for participation in a bowl game if that institution is a member of a conference with which the bowl organization has a contractual affiliation, and there is no other team in that conference qualified for selection per Bylaw 30.9.2. If the conference with which the bowl is affiliated has no other institution that is qualified for selection or a team with a 6-6 record, the bowl may invite a team with a 6-6 regular-season record from another conference with which it does not have an affiliation only if there is no other team with a 7-5 record available in the Division I FBS. Additionally, a bowl game without a conference affiliation may invite any team with a record of six wins and six losses if there is no team with a 7-5 record available in the Division I FBS. During a season in which an institution competes in 13 regular season contests, the institution must establish a record of seven wins, six losses or better to qualify for bowl selection.
According to my count, the Big Ten has contracts with 7 bowl games. This means that if Michigan gets to 6 wins they will make a bowl game as long as there is not 7 other teams with 7 wins OR another team with 6 wins that is a bigger draw than Michigan (the latter is not likely considering they would be going up against the likes of Northwestern, Minnesota, MSU, etc).
Things look even better if you consider that the Big Ten has sent two teams to the BCS fairly often in recent years. If that were to happen (with the Big Ten Champ going to the Rose Bowl and a team like Iowa, OSU, etc also making the BCS), the Big Ten would send 8 teams bowling making Michigan a virtual lock if they can get to 6 wins. And lets not forget that even if Michigan can't fit into a Big Ten contract bowl game, they can still be chosen as an "at large" with 6 wins as long as there aren't anymore 7 win teams.
Bottom line is that Michigan can make this post completely moot if they win 7 games (which like, please God let that happen), but even if they can only beat one other team outside of Delaware State, things look good for us to go bowling. I know 6 wins would probably be a disappointment to most of us. But as long as we came out and won the bowl game, I could live with it. Afterall, look at the change in perception that Notre Dame got after beating a terrible Hawaii team last year.
Yesterday was my first time in Iowa City, and now that I have been to 6 of the 11 Big Ten stadiums (and also Notre Dame) for Michigan games, I thought I would throw out my thoughts from the experience, including some comparisons and game observations.
Note: My rankings below are based purely on my opinion and obviously influenced by what my experiences were at each individual campus. Also, in some instances it was very hard to separate 2 or 3 schools. Basically what I'm trying to say is that I don't want this post to piss anyone off.
University of Iowa Campus:
I don't know about you guys, but I love college campuses. Every time I get a chance to visit a school, I make a point to get a feel for the campus. I am obviously biased, but the University of Michigan has the best campus I have ever been to (which is a lot more than the the seven mentioned above). Ann Arbor is the perfect size college town, and the campus itself seamlessly blends right into it. My view on Iowa's campus is that it was very nice, but mostly unspectacular. The town of Iowa City really is in the middle of nowhere, with Cedar Rapids being the biggest thing nearby. And all of the stereotypical jokes about corn, tractors, etc that are associated with Iowa are partially true from what I saw. The campus itself was pretty nice with a lot of the brick and stone buildings that I like and a riverside location. Their Union has nothing on Michigan's but thats the case almost everywhere. Overall ranking amongst Big Ten + ND places I been: Michigan, Wisconsin, ND, Iowa, OSU, Northwestern, MSU.
Pre-game Atmosphere / Tailgating Scene
I've got to be pretty honest here and say that considering it was a night game with Iowa being ranked so high, I was a little disappointed with this part of the Iowa experience. Sure there were a ton of people, with a large number of parking areas that were completely packed, but other than that I felt it was business as usual. Maybe I was expecting too much, but to me it seemed like it easily could have been just an average day game from what I observed. Overall ranking amongst Big Ten + ND places I've been: Wisconsin, OSU, MSU, Iowa, Michigan, ND, Northwestern.
Kinnick Stadium has a reputation for being one of the tougher places to play in the Big Ten, and again I have to say that I was a little disappointed considering where my expectations were. The "blackout" was excellent. The student section was there early, and they were loud. And the stadium itself is aesthetically very nice, if not for it being fairly small. Don't get me wrong, the place got LOUD at times, especially early. But as the game wore on, the crowd really only got up at obviously important moments. I am sure the freezing temperatures and other things played a role in this. But overall, OSU and even Wisconsin seemed to more consistently loud. And I was sitting in the 6th row from the field, just opposite the student section. One thing I will say about Kinnick is that the crowd is extremely close to the players. In the endzone nearest me, the people in the front row seats actually had their feet on the playing surface. Courtside baby! Overall ranking amongst Big Ten + ND places I've been: OSU, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, ND, MSU, Northwestern.
EDIT: One thing I left out was how terrible the loud-speaker music and other jumbotron things were. Absolutely terrible. At one point on the jumbotron, there was a cartoon video of four pick-up trucks racing that obviously ended with the black Iowa one winning. A promotion for corn growers or something like that. Also -1000 for the Iowa band playing the Monday Night Football song (not "Are You Ready for Some Football" but the other one). Thinking of this stuff just dropped Iowa down one spot on my list.
Iowa Fans (Treatment of Opposing Fans)
Not sure how many of you are interested in this portion of my post, but I have to say that Iowa fans were definitely some of the more hospitable I have come in contact with. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy getting ribbed by opposing fans at away games, but some places definitely go too far on occasion (cough OSU cough). We had very little profanity thrown our way, and even the post-game trash talk was minimal. One issue I do have was the running the field thing that I know has already been brought up on this blog. Even the fans around me seemed to be celebrating the win as though they had just won the Big Ten. I just don't understand being that excited when your number 12 ranked team barely escapes at home against an unranked team that is extremely inexperienced. If the roles had been reversed, I would have let out a big WHEW and went back to my apartment feeling very lucky to still be undefeated. That was not the reaction I saw from Iowa fans. Overall ranking amongst Big Ten + ND places I've been (I'm leaving out Michigan here because I have never been to the Big House as an opposing fan obviously): Iowa, Northwestern, ND, Wisconsin, MSU, OSU.
I'm not going to go into too much detail here, but despite the loss I am very encouraged about what I saw last night. In the moments after the game ended, part of me was very happy because the team played pretty well when they weren't making a monumental mistake. The other part of me was extremely disappointed because if we had not made as many monumental mistakes we would have won that game, sliding back into the top 20 and making a January bowl seem very likely.
For the first time since the Western Michigan game, I found myself really liking the way our defense looked at points in the game. Sure they allowed 30 points, but the offense gave them a short field at least twice and the TD that came after the 3rd and 24 conversion is credited to the coaches IMO (from my vantage point it looked like we went into three-man-rush death mode, but correct me if I am wrong).
Offensively, we definitely struggled at points. But our ability to consistently line up and push Iowa off the ball with the running game was what really got me excited. I also enjoyed being re-reminded of how important Brandon Minor is to our team. Watching the physicality of his running from the 6th row was incredible. I hope he can somehow stay healthy for the next 6 games.
Overall, a loss is still a loss. But going forward I feel really good about the rest of the season and the future. I think it's going to be a tough battle to make it to 7+ wins, but I think we can do it based on what I saw in Iowa City. For the first time this year, I feel that PSU and OSU are definitely winnable games. Hope some of this was helpful!